Published On: May 11th, 20180 Comments

At Garden State Towing, road safety is our primary concern. Recent changes to Victorian road rules, however, leave tow truck drivers exposed to danger. This month, the Garden State Towing team talk to you about the legislation and what it means for the emergency tow truck services in Victoria.

Road Worker Safety

Of 1,600 emergency service and enforcement workers surveyed by VicRoads, over the past three years, 17% were almost hit by vehicles four or more times; 3% were injured while evading a passing vehicle; and 8% had their vehicles hit by passing cars.

To combat these statistics, Victoria introduced new road rules in July last year. Under the new legislation, drivers have to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency, enforcement and first-responder vehicles with flashing lights.The legislation aims to protect the state’s roadside emergency services, including police, ambulances, and state transport vehicles (including those belonging to the Department of Fisheries). It does not, however, extend to towing services.

Four months after the new legislation came into effect, a tow truck driver lost his arm while attending an accident on the Peninsula Link. He was responding to a 4WD that had broken down in the emergency stopping lane.This is a routine job that requires no other emergency services, such as police or fire brigade. The new legislation, therefore, didn’t cover him. The car that hit the tow truck driver, travelling full speed, irrevocably severed the tow truck driver’s arm, flipped and landed on its roof.

Road Safety Legislation

The legislation extends to all flashing lights, with one major exception. Motorists now, by law, have to slow to 40km/h when passing red, blue or magenta flashing lights, but not yellow. On their websiteVicRoads explains their decision to not include yellow flashing lights in the rainbow of red, blue and purple. They state the rule excludes yellow lights so that it is “easier for motorists to understand and comply” with the new rule — to slow down for some flashing lights, but not all, or face a fine.

Under the new road rules, motorists have to slow down and keep a safe distance from the flashing lights or siren of:

  • Police
  • Ambulance
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade
  • Country Fire Authority
  • Forest Fire Management
  • State Emergency Services
  • Search and Rescue
  • VicRoads Transport and Safety Service
  • Enforcement vehicles under the control of State Transport bodies including the Department of Fisheries and Taxi Enforcement
  • Other emergency patient transport

Alone on the Roads

The safety laws were implemented to improve the safety of “workers who are performing work on the road or roadside, as well as others who are present at the scene” (VicRoads). That this doesn’t include tow truck drivers is a major oversight. Police are only called out to accidents when there has been a collision, and paramedics when there has been an injury. For most of our emergency roadside towing services, we are alone.

We operate 24/7 on dangerous roads with nothing between us and the traffic. Our flashing lights warn drivers not only that there has been an accident, but that there are people working next to and on the road. A tow truck’s flashing lights warn motorists that there has been an accident and that there are people operating along the road. They are there to warn drivers of danger. They are there to increase our visibility and to protect us. We urge Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donellan, to amend the legislation to include tow truck services.

What can be Done?

Michael Burgess started a petition to include tow truck services among those covered by the new legislation. Currently, the petition has 6,600 signatures. We hope that more people will sign the petition and that the laws are extended to include us. Tow truck drivers are in just as much danger as the other roadside workers but aren’t covered by the current law. Please sign the petition here and share it with your friends and family.

Remember, for your own safety, as well as that of roadside workers, slow down when you see us. Keep a safe distance. Road safety is everybody’s concern. Working together, we can have safer, quieter roads.

Avinash Mahendran
Avinash Mahendran
23:22 02 Dec 23
Ahmed took great care and attention to detail in loading and unloading my BMW M4. It's not every day you find a towing company that knows how to handle prestige vehicles.
Pontious Maximus
Pontious Maximus
13:38 05 Nov 23
100% Professional and reliable. Ahmed was absolutely a pleasure to deal with. Very helpful in finding the perfect solution to a tricky situation. Highly recommend.
Oz Louis
Oz Louis
10:38 13 Oct 23
Very helpful quick and affordable
Harry Simson
Harry Simson
03:12 02 Oct 23
We needed to tow our Porsche 997.2 Carrera from the depths of our apartment carpark to Porsche Centre Melbourne. GT used a low rise unit operated by Tom to enter the carpark and collect our cherished vehicle. Tom's executed the tow with great skill and performed a flawless job. I would not hesitate to use GT and Tom for this task again - hopefully will never need to!
andrew hayden
andrew hayden
06:37 26 Sep 23
Great, friendly and reliable. Would highly recommend.
Kellie Whittaker
Kellie Whittaker
00:23 04 Sep 23
Our car was stuck in one of the steepest and angled driveways that barely had room for one car. Tom was amazing and really took the time to technically work it out and incredibly got the car out unscathed! Very impressed and grateful for the help we were given today, would highly recommend Tom, he’s a legend!
Charlie Zhang
Charlie Zhang
05:34 31 Jul 23
evan harrison
evan harrison
11:25 08 Jun 23
10/10
Ariyan Shen
Ariyan Shen
13:53 03 Jun 23
Professional and hassle free.
Alexis sanchez
Alexis sanchez
00:50 30 May 23
Julia Sos
Julia Sos
08:57 05 May 23
I had my car battery replaced by Michael who was super friendly and quick! Highly recommend 😀
Anthony Ponting
Anthony Ponting
08:29 28 Mar 23
These guys are awesome! Used them twice now and was lucky enough to have Tom tow it both times, he took care of my pride and joy, kept me in the loop regarding pick up and drop off and went over and above to make sure my car was looked after. Highly recommend to anyone.
Daniel “Dan” Stivala
Daniel “Dan” Stivala
01:40 25 Mar 23
Unfortunately I found myself in a situation with one deflated run-flat tyre but Tom at Gardenstate Towing came to my rescue. Tom was absolutely pleasant and courteous! Let me ride up front and dropped me off home along the way to South Yarra BMW. Highly recommend Tom and Gardenstate Towing services!
Shep Carpeneter
Shep Carpeneter
23:41 22 Mar 23
My stupid car broke down on Hoddle St Melbourne, at least close to a pub! Tom was prompt and efficient and had me on my way (back to the pub) in no time. Thanks mate
Vince Iannuzzi
Vince Iannuzzi
12:07 21 Mar 23
Fred was great! He towed my son’s car late at night and was incredibly positive and non-judgemental. His customer service skills was second to none, and someone who modelled a genuine enthusiasm for his work. What a great role model!
Oscar Weichmann
Oscar Weichmann
08:46 21 Mar 23
Day ruined due to a flat tire on my motorbike.Tom turned it around with his prompt and friendly service. Dropped me and the bike home safely and with a smile.Cheers Tom.

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